Ruins Of Myrina

Very little remains of the ancient city today, unfortunately. Myrina was built upon two hills known as Kato and Epano. The city’s acropolis occupied the latter. Sections of the polygonal defense walls were excavated and may- be seen on Epano, the larger of the two hills. Nearby these wall sections Is part of a Byzantine wall. Nothing remains on the summits of the two hills, however. You can see parts of the ancient quay at the landing stage to the east of Kato hill with several ancient mooring blocks jutting out into the watf. The hollowed-out section in the side of Epano hill, on the west, is likely to have been the site of a theater, though nothing is left of it today.

At a distance from Epano hill are two other hills to the northeast, On the farther of these two is found the Into? Tomb, a rock-cut vault with ten vaulted niches coming off from the main chamber. Others of this sort of chamber tomb may be found nearby. The main burial ground’or necropofis of Myrlna, however, was found between the slopes of Epano and the first hill’to the north-east. These tombs and graves are by far the most Important of the city’s remains. Some five thousand of them were uncovered by a French expedition in 1880-83: Most of the artifacts were carted off to the Louvre, unfortunately, but the Istanbul Archaeological Museum maintains a fine collection of Myrinas relics.

Most of the tombs were dated to the last few centuries B.C., the late Hellenistic period, and were sunk down into the rock. Others were placed in layers, superimposed one upon the other. The contents of the graves are of special interest. Practically all the tombs contained coins, common objects such as table ware, lomps, clay flasks, and terracotta figurines. The figurines ore what caused such a stir in the archaeological community. Among the representations were gods and goddesses, especially Aphrodite, Eros, Demeter and Nike, plus figures of animals, men and women. The statues of dieties were undoubtedly buried with the dead for religious purposes; other figurines may have represented loved ones. The plates and flasks were likely included so that the dead would have their utensils handy in the other world. And the coins are reputed to have been for passage fare on the fabled Charon’s Ferry. The coins were primarily Myrinian, and were minted from bronze.

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